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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: The multilingual university: language ideology, hidden policies and language practices in Malawian universities
Author(s): Reilly, Colin
Costley, Tracey
Gibson, Hannah
Kula, Nancy C
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Keywords: Language policy
linguistic ethnography
teaching practices
higher education
Issue Date: 15-Jan-2024
Date Deposited: 16-Jan-2024
Citation: Reilly C, Costley T, Gibson H & Kula NC (2024) The multilingual university: language ideology, hidden policies and language practices in Malawian universities. <i>Language, Culture and Curriculum</i>.
Abstract: Globalisation is increasingly affecting universities worldwide. In African contexts, language policies exhibit an inheritance situation in which countries continue to implement policies which favour colonial languages in education. This paper investigates the Malawian higher education context and the ways in which staff engage with multilingualism. It examines the implementation of language policies by staff in their classrooms and explores the attitudes of staff members towards the current monolingual language policy and practices in higher education in the country. The paper draws on a 4-month ethnography carried out in eight Malawian universities. Findings indicate that the language ‘rules’ imposed by staff are highly variable and that diverse language ‘policies’ are implemented and enforced by staff, some of whom operate strictly monolingual approaches while others adopt multilingual approaches. Staff display a range of attitudes towards multilingualism, influenced by competing pressures of ensuring students comprehend the subject matter while also seeking to improve their English skills against the broader backdrop of language practices and expectations in the country.
DOI Link: 10.1080/07908318.2024.2303686
Rights: © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
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